Today’s Rain Just ‘A Blip’
Prince George, B.C. – Today’s rain is nice if you live in the Cariboo but don’t get too used to it.
That from Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, during a news conference today.
“It’s a momentary reprieve, a blip. We expect a quick rebound back to hot and dry conditions tomorrow,” he said. “We’re also keeping a close eye on thunder storms and wind – which has been our biggest challenge so far.”
Skrepnek said there are 152 fires burning province-wide – including 12 new blazes discovered yesterday.
He added there is approximately 3,600 staff – including firefighters and support staff – battling the fires.
There are also 1,000 contract personnel and 800 out-of-province personnel in B.C. helping.
He also updated some of the fires of note in the Cariboo region, including:
- The Gustafsen fire – 5,700 hectares and 45 per cent contained.
- Hanceville fire – 132,000 hectares and zero per cent contained though Skrepnek noted “good progress” has been made building a fire guard around the blaze.
- White Lake fire – 8,107 hectares and 10 per cent contained.
- Wildwood Complex fire – 13,215 hectares.
- Elephant Hill fire – 56,200 hectares and 30 per cent contained.
The Canadian Armed Forces announced today it will boost its emergency efforts in B.C..
Approximately 150 Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to B.C. already with an additional 225 more coming to Williams Lake today.
The CAF is assisting the RCMP with very specific duties such as the ground evacuation of persons in distress, delivery of essential aid such as food and supplies by land and by air, and to help the RCMP maintain road checkpoints through the areas affected by the fire.
The Province’s request for military assistance does not include deployments in an armed or law-enforcement capacity.
In the mean time Skrepnek said the total cost of firefighting efforts has reached $111.9 million since the season started on April 1 (well above the $63 million that was budgeted).
“That number is specific to BC Wildfire costs for direct response,” he said. “That number does not include other costs or societal costs.”